PROFILE: BETH WILLIS
Senior Events Co-ordinator at Donnington Valley
How long have you worked at Donnington Valley Hotel?
In total around five and a half years. I started working as a reservationist and then moved into events starting off with literary dinners and comedy nights. That carved the special events role and incorporated special events and weddings.
So did you always want to be a wedding coordinator?
It wasn’t something that I set out with a plan to do if I’m honest, but having spoken to people who have known me in the past they have all said that it suits me down to the ground. Although its not quite as glamorous as in the movies, its something that I love doing. I do however wish I had one of those belts like Jennifer Lopez in the film. A portable brides emergency kit if you like, my desk drawer has to serve as that for the time being.
What’s the best part of your job?
Probably being instantly part of the family. For the time leading up to the wedding I am closely involved with not only the bride and groom but also their parents and sometimes the bridesmaids and ushers. Its that relationship that I am able to build with the couples that really makes my role so unique.
What is the most unusual request you have had from a bride?
I’ve had a few requests that I’m not sure should really be put into print! One time that does stick out in my memory was when a bride was so nervous I walked her into the ceremony room a few times, before her guests arrived, to help her to feel more comfortable and to practice walking up and down the aisle without tripping over her gown. Its all about ensuring that the bride, groom and their parents are comfortable on the day. People sometimes forget that the couple’s parents can be just as nervous as the bride and groom!
A little birdy tells me that you are getting married yourself this year?
Yes I’m getting married late spring. To be honest I don’t think it will feel real until I’ve got the dress on.
So how is planning your own wedding different to what you do everyday?
At the moment its not! The only way that I know how to plan a wedding is how I help my brides. So I have it all laid out exactly the same way. Although there are extra bits that our brides tend to organise themselves which I keep forgetting. Ordering the wedding cake being a prime example.
So you must be the dream bride for your wedding planner.
Um yes and no. I think I’m an equal mix of delight and nightmare! We’ve got much of it all planned out and exactly as we want it but because I’ve helped so many brides I have a very set ideas about what I do and don’t want for our wedding.
Whats the one piece of advice you would give you your brides and are you following it yourself?
There are a couple of things I would say that I’ve learnt from experience. Firstly, if you don’t want to listen to people’s opinions then don’t ask the question. Secondly its best if family are contributing to the wedding, speak to them early on to see what their expectations are. It saves a lot of time and arguments in the long run.
Special Events co-ordinator
To Find out more about planning your wedding at Donnington Valley see our website for details or contact Beth by email or by telephone on 01635 568106